Registering a civil partnership is a two step process. Firstly, you will need to give notice of your intention to register, and secondly, actually register the civil partnership. You can search for approved civil partnership premises on the Directgov website, and you should also check that your preferred venue is available before giving notice to register.

Giving Notice of Your Intention to Register

You and your partner must give notice of your intention to register a civil partnership to your local register office, in person. Even if you intend to register somewhere else, you must also have lived in the area for at least seven days before you can give notice there.

When giving notice you will need to state the date and place you will register the civil partnership, so you should contact the venue where you are going to register first.

Civil Partners Holding Hands

You will also have to provide the register office with personal details. These include your names, address, ages, nationalities, and whether you have been in a civil partnership or married before. You will need to provide documentary evidence of these details, such as your passport, birth certificate, a divorce decree absolute or the death certificate of a former civil partner. If one of you is subject to immigration control you may have to provide additional documentary evidence.

Once you’ve given notice of your intention to register, details of the notice is then made available in a register office for people to see. This will be in the area in which both of you live and the area where you’re going to register, if this is different. The details are available for public viewing 15 days before you can register your civil partnership.

After 15 days you will be free to register your civil partnership, as long as there are no objections and no legal reasons why you cannot proceed. The register office must give you a legal document called a ‘Civil Partnership Schedule’ which you will need in order to register a civil partnership. This is valid for 12 months, after which you will need to start the whole process again.

Registering Your Civil Partnership

You can register your civil partnership at any register office or at any venue approved for this purpose. Any venue approved to hold civil marriages automatically has approval to register civil partnerships. Non-religious venues must hold civil partnerships if licensed to hold civil marriages. To refuse would be unlawful discrimination and the venue would lose its license.

A civil partnership can also be registered on religious premises, however, religious organisations are not obliged to host civil partnership ceremonies.

A civil partnership becomes legally registered when a couple has signed the Civil Partnership Schedule, which must take place in front of a registrar and two witnesses.

There are no further legal requirements, or any requirement for a formal ceremony, although you may choose to have one if you wish. Many local authorities will arrange for a ceremony in addition to the signing of the civil partnership document, but they do not have to. The signing of the civil partnership schedule cannot involve a religious service.

If you wish to have a ceremony and the local authority refuses to perform one, the following options are available:

  • Find a register office in another local authority where you can sign the Civil Partnership Schedule with a ceremony
  • Find other approved premises where you can sign the Civil Partnership Schedule and have a ceremony
  • Arrange a ceremony somewhere else after the signing of the Civil Partnership Schedule has taken place at the register office

The Cost of Registering a Civil Partnership

The fee to give notice of your intention to register a civil partnership is currently £30 each (£60 a couple) plus a registration fee. To register at a register office costs around £40. If you wish to register at another venue you will have to pay a fee for the registrar to attend, and this fee will depend on where you live. You will also have to pay a hire fee for the use of the venue.

Guest post by Lester Gethings

Image from Flickr by eyeofqvox (CC BY-ND 2.0 License)

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